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Grammar Explanations:

1. Use the past perfect progressive to talk about an action that was in progress before a specific time in the past. The progressive emphasizes the continuation of an action, not the end result. Remember! Non-action verbs aren’t usually used in the progressive.

Past Perfect Progressive

For examples:

It was 2:00 P.M. The runners had been running since 10:48 A.M.

One runner fainted. She hadn’t been drinking enough water. It was 5:00 P.M. He had had (NOT been having) a headache all day.

2. The past perfect progressive always shows a relationship with another past event. Use the past perfect progressive for the earlier event. Use the simple past tense for the

later event. For example:

She had been practicing for three years when she entered the race. (First she practiced. Then she entered the race.)

3. We often use the past perfect progressive to draw conclusions about past events based on evidence. For example:

She was out of breath. It was clear that she had been running. The streets were wet. It had been raining.

4. Be careful! In these sentences with when, notice the difference in meaning between the past progressive and the past perfect progressive. For example:

When the race started, it was raining and the streets were wet. (It was still raining during the race.) When the race started, it had been raining and the streets were wet. (It wasn’t raining during the race. It had already stopped.)

1. MATCH. Each result has a cause. Match the result with the correct cause.

1. She was out of breath.

2. The ground was wet.

3. Her eyes were red.

4.There was an open book on the couch. D. She had been crying.

A. He had been reading. B. She had been running. C. They had been watching the race.


There were empty cans on the floor. E. It had been raining.

6 .

The TV was on.

F. They had been drinking soda.


COMPLETE. Read this story from a magazine article. Complete it with the past perfect progressive form of the verbs in parentheses.

On October 23, I ran the Boston Marathon with a partner, Marcia Davis. We

to enter the race ever since

we saw Oprah in the Washington Marathon. The start of the race was dramatic. Up to that

point, we

(practice) on

those same streets for a couple of weeks. Thus at the beginning we did well. By the time we

got to Heartbreak Hill, we

believed we could finish. Then, halfway up the hill, Marcia stopped. She just couldn’t run

anymore. We

to go on alone, but Marcia wanted me to finish. When I got to the finish line, I saw Marcia.


about next year’s marathon.

3. CHOOSE & COMPLETE. The magazine Runner’s World (RW) is interviewing

marathon winner Paolo Esposito (PE). Complete the interview with the past perfect

progressive form of the following verbs: date ; expect; live; practice; run.

RW: You just won the

PE: Yes,

RW: You tripped during the race. How long

PE: It was in the last hour. Luckily it didn’t keep me from winning. RW: I understand that you recently married your trainer, Emilia Leale. How long

(train) together since last year, and we

(joke and laugh), but we were very serious when we lined

up. I was so nervous that I couldn’t breathe. Marcia and I

(run) for almost four hours, and I really

(look forward) to this race for so long that I didn’t want

(wait) for me for three hours. First we cried. Then we started talking

long for it?

For more than five years. First in Madrid, then in Rome.

when that happened?

each other when you decided to get married?

PE: About six months. We met in Rome and knew right away that we wanted to be together.


in Rome for a long time when you met?

PE: No,

In fact, I just moved there.

RW: When you crossed the finish line, you looked very

PE: No,

3. EDIT. Read part of an entry from a runner’s journal. Find and correct five mistakes in the use of the past perfect progressive. October 19, I just got back from the marathon! I’m tired but happy. When I crossed the finish line, I have been running for four hours. Jim was standing there. He had been waited for me the whole time. We were both soaking wet -I, because I had been sweating; he, because it has been raining just a little while before. I was so glad to see him. I had been look forward to this day for so long and hoping that I could finish the race in less than four and half hours. When I got home, I called my parents. They had watching the marathon on TV and had actually seen me cross the finish line.

to win?

! I was really surprised and very happy.